Charlotte Folk Society logo celebrating 25 years

Dedicated to promoting the ongoing enjoyment and preservation of traditional and contemporary folk music, dance, crafts and lore in the Carolinas Piedmont, since 1982.

The Rye Mountain Boys

Listen to the Rye Mountain Boys
Keep on Going music notes
Someone Took My Place With You music notes
Wheel Hoss music notes

Rye Mountain Boys

Rye Mountain Boys (website here) to perform at September 9th CFS Gathering

More than two years ago, Brian English, Hugh Moore, Cliff Hale, Zach Mondry, and Jim Collier came together to form the Rye Mountain Boys. The five musicians shared a single purpose - to bring to life the original sounds and invoke the "ancient tones" of bluegrass music, as it was conceived and performed by the genre's founding fathers.

Brian English was exposed to bluegrass at an early age. He grew up in the North Carolina Piedmont and listened to PineCone's bluegrass radio show every Sunday night for as far back as he can remember. Brian studied classical violin as a child and went on to play in orchestras and ensembles through high school and college. It wasn't until he got out of school and away from sheet music that he started learning to play the music he had grown up listening to. Brian kept digging deeper into the roots of popular American music and, inevitably, the bluegrass bug bit him. After a five-year stint with Old Habits, a Raleigh bluegrass/acoustic cover band, as well as many gigs and projects with other area bluegrass musicians, Brian now brings his spot-on bluegrass fiddling to both the Rye Mountain Boys and Lost County 35.

Hugh Moore has been obsessed with the banjo and bluegrass music almost since birth. Even as a youngster he was a compulsive musician. He once was nearly arrested for playing the banjo while driving on the Interstate. His hard-driving melodic banjo style has been featured on recordings of legendary bluegrass pioneers, including Kenny Baker, Bobby Osborne, Benny Martin, Vassar Clements, and Josh Graves. Hugh has also been featured on The Grand Ole Opry and has performed on the Ernest Tubb Record Shop radio program. He has produced recordings featuring Earl Scruggs, Buck Owens, Marty Stuart, Porter Wagoner, Vince Gill, and Alison Krauss. As a member of the Rye Mountain Boys, Hugh picks the banjo and sings baritone, tenor, and occasional lead vocals. Hugh's background is a perfect fit with this band patterned after the pioneering bluegrass groups.

Cliff Hale was born in West Virginia, where he spent most of his youth in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. He has been moved by roots music since he was a kid, thanks to a sharing father who had a deep appreciation for the music and a great music collection. Growing up in a singing family, Cliff was coaxed to join the family quartet as a child and has been singing ever since. He first waded into the bluegrass scene as a performer while in graduate school at West Virginia University, where he had the good fortune to play in a band of experienced and talented musicians who shared a passion and respect for traditional bluegrass. Cliff brings his love for traditional bluegrass, strong, soulful lead vocals, and straight-up rhythm guitar to the Rye Mountain Boys.

Zack Mondry, a native Minnesotan, grew up in an old house filled with sounds emanating from country and blues LPs. Country music performances at the big state fair grandstand were an annual highlight. Zack decided he had to play bluegrass music after hearing some Johnson Mountain Boys records one day nearly twenty years ago while in college on the West Coast. His love of bluegrass music eventually brought him to North Carolina, where he has played extensively, providing fundamental bass in bluegrass, old-time, and honky tonk settings. Zack performed with the Apple Chill Cloggers in Italy and in the musical production Always Patsy Cline in Virginia. A warm, yet driving bluegrass player, Zack is known for his great timing, tone, and clarity, and completes the traditional sound ot the Rye Mountain Boys.

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Jim Collier was originally drawn to bluegrass as a child glued to the television watching the Foggy Mountain Boys on the Martha White Show, but did not start to play music until his high school days in Raleigh. Jim was influenced early on by the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, and Raleigh's New Deal String Band. He spent many weekends at old-time fiddlers' conventions and bluegrass festivals throughout the South during the '60s and '70s. Jim has been a presence in the old-time music scene for the last thirty years - mostly as an old-time fiddler and more recently as the guitarist, mandolin player, and singer with Big Medicine, an old-time band that has performed on A Prairie Home Companion. Jim has spent most of the last ten years renewing his love for bluegrass music, studying mandolin, singing, and he can now live his dream of playing classic bluegrass with the Rye Mountain Boys.

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.